It was still dark when we left Sabalos on the fast boat back to San Carlos. Six and a half hours on the bus to Managua without a loo stop wasn’t our plan but we both survived!
Back at La Mariposa work was in progress, the bedroom floor had been tiled and Marcos was busy building the kitchen counter.
We stayed long enough to present the gifiti to Paulette and get the laundry done then set off again to visit our friends in Esteli.
We’ve been here several times and got to know Janie and her daughters very well. We stayed in Hostal Luna and hung out in Cafe Luz – both founded by Janie and run as non-profit enterprises providing employment and supporting the development of projects to benefit the rural communities nearby.
We had lots of fun with the children, visiting the park, baking gingerbread with friends in the cafe kitchen and, once the weekend was over, overseeing the homework.
We also caught up with Alvaro, a doctor who enjoys talking to English visitors as he is fascinated by the classics and European civilisation. We enjoyed red wine and fresh bread in the Italian courtyard he is creating in his back garden.
Janie was working, but we had dinner together in the evenings and even managed a long afternoon trip out with Janie and Nazarelli who works with her, plus Santos – who came for the ride!
We have written about Miraflor on previous occasions. It’s a remote and beautiful area, ranging from dry forest at the lower levels to cloud forest at the highest point, above 1,400 metres. Miraflor is a protected reserve with an abundance of bird species, wildlife and plants, including orchids.
Life is rustic and tough with agriculture the main occupation. High quality coffee is grown by small scale producers who work cooperatively to process and market the crop. They grow some excellent vegetables too!
Janie’s organisation has supported the development of basic tourist facilities including homestays for those who want to experience life in this beautiful, remote area. These provide additional income for residents. They also run a library bus taking reading opportunities to schoolchildren across the area.
Then on up the volcano to inspect some land which the couple are purchasing to build a remote and rustic cabin for visitors. Nearby an uncle and other relatives were processing the last of the coffee harvest. Horses carried the sacks up to the dirt road to be taken back to town in the back of the truck.
It was dusk when we left – the chickens were heading up to roost in the trees!